Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Bishop Robert Barron
September 12, 2023
Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Gospel: Lk 6:20-26
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel is Luke’s pithy version of the beatitudes. First we are told, “Blessed are you who are poor.”
We notice that there is none of the softening offered by Matthew (“poor in spirit”), but a simple and straightforward statement of the blessedness of being poor. How do we interpret what seems prima facie to be a glorification of economic poverty? Let me propose the following reading: “How lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things.” One of the classic substitutes for God is material wealth, the accumulating of “things.”
The freedom and fullness of detachment is probably no better expressed than in John of the Cross’ beautiful mantra: “To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing; to come to the knowledge of all, desire the knowledge of nothing; to come to possess all, desire the possession of nothing; to arrive at being all, desire to be nothing.”
This fourfold nada is not a negation but the deepest affirmation. It is finally to see the world as it is and not through the distorting lens of cupidity and egotism.